Thursday, 5 November 2009

Animation Lesson Five: Move!

Now that I've completed building my truck it's time to start animating it and making it drive along the beautiful vistas of the virtual world! To animate my truck first I have to group all the objects together so that they move as one piece, so I go into my objects menu and put them all under one grouping labeled "Truck". Next I set up the frame rate to 25fps, this is done as it's the speed that British television runs at and that it's easier to work out in the long run (4 seconds = 100 frames) I then set the time line to 50 frames which translates to the animation running for 2 seconds.

Now that the animation settings and time line are set up, it's on to developing a track of movement for my truck to move along. Now I could move it and set key frames but that would mean that it only move in a straight line and that's not very interesting is it? So I created a Motion Path with the CV Curve Tool and create a path for my truck to move along, I then attach my the truck to the Path. After, using the Keyframe tool I set a frame of the Truck at the start of the path and a frame at the end of the path, with the settings set in Maya the will animate and move smoothly along the line (As seen in the video above).

The Motion Path.

Now that I have the basics of animation in Maya under my belt it's time to start experimenting with some of the special effects that the program has to offer such as distortion, bending and stretching just to give a little bit of extra life to the animation. To do this I downloaded a file from the Moodle to start playing with, the one I chose was that of two balls bouncing. The challenge was to make it appear as though the balls are bouncing realistically but to make one have a more cartoon-ish element to it. This was done by looking back at my previous work with realistic time lines and then applied them to animation within Maya. To achieve this look I used the deformer which allowed me to achieve the squash-and-stratch look. Below is the result.

If you look closely at the green ball as it falls you can see slight stretching compared to the yellow ball. I feel that I have a rough graps of deformation tools and look forward to expanding my skills and experiences with them.

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